Although the warm weather in the latter days of Pesach made the rains of the first days – as well as the cold and rainy weather that preceded it – a distant memory in the minds of many Israelis, farmers will be remembering them, as well as dealing with their fallout, for many months to come, according to agricultural industry officials.
According to those officials, the damage to crops – mostly fruits that were ripening on the vine – amounts to some NIS 29 million. March rains are generally heavy during the first part of the month, but generally become lighter as the month goes on, with April seeing usually light showers or only brief periods of heavier rain. This year, however, the April rains were very heavy, which, along with strong winds, hail and very low temperatures, have damaged trees bearing early summer fruits.
Official damages will be announced only later this week, but agricultural industry officials said that hundreds of farmers have filed damage claims with insurance companies, with over 2,000 such complaints expected to be filed. Among the crops that have sustained the most damage were cherries, nectarines, peaches, almonds, apples and plums. Most of the damage claims are being made by farmers in northern Israel and in the Yerushalayim area.
With less supply, consumers can expect to pay more for their favorite fruits. While there are no shortages of any specific fruit or vegetable yet, some prices have already risen; peppers, for example, are now at NIS 15 a kilo, double their usual price.